Three cases on patent eligibility related to life sciences:
"Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 (1980), was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with whether genetically modified organisms can be patented.
Genetic engineer Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty, working for General Electric, had developed a bacterium (derived from the Pseudomonas genus and now known as Pseudomonas putida) capable of breaking down crude oil, which he proposed to use in treating oil spills. General Electric filed a patent application for the bacterium in the United States listing Chakrabarty as the inventor, but the application was rejected by a patent examiner, because under patent law at that time, living things were generally understood to not be patentable subject matter under Section 101 of Title 35 U.S.C.
The Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences agreed with the original decision; however, the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals overturned the case in Chakrabarty's favor, writing, "the fact that micro-organisms are alive is without legal significance for purposes of the patent law." Sidney A. Diamond, Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court case was argued on March 17, 1980 and decided on June 16, 1980. The patent was granted by the USPTO on Mar 31, 1981."
"Mayo v. Prometheus, 566 U.S. 66 (2012), was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States that unanimously held that claims directed to a method of giving a drug to a patient, measuring metabolites of that drug, and with a known threshold for efficacy in mind, deciding whether to increase or decrease the dosage of the drug, were not patent-eligible subject matter. The decision was controversial, with proponents claiming it frees clinical pathologists to practice their medical discipline, and critics claiming that it destabilizes patent law and will stunt investment in the field of personalized medicine, preventing new products and services from emerging in that field."
"Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 569 U.S. 576 (2013), was a case challenging the validity of gene patents in the United States, specifically challenging certain claims in issued patents owned or controlled by Myriad Genetics that cover isolated DNA sequences, methods to diagnose propensity to cancer by looking for mutated DNA sequences, and methods to identify drugs using isolated DNA sequences. Prior to the case, the U.S. Patent Office accepted patents on isolated DNA sequences as a composition of matter. Diagnostic claims were already under question through the In re Bilski and Mayo v. Prometheus cases. Drug screening claims were not seriously questioned prior to this case.
The case was originally heard in Southern District Court of New York. Proponents of the validity of these patents argued that recognizing such patents would encourage investment in biotechnology and promote innovation in genetic research by not keeping technology shrouded in secrecy. Opponents argued that these patents would stifle innovation by preventing others from conducting cancer research, would limit options for cancer patients in seeking genetic testing, and that the patents are not valid because they relate to genetic information that is not inventive, but is rather produced by nature. The District Court ruled that none of the challenged claims were patent eligible.
Myriad then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit reversed the district court in part and affirmed in part, ruling that isolated DNA that does not exist alone in nature can be patented and that the drug screening claims were valid but that Myriad's diagnostic claims were unpatentable. On appeal, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case for the Federal Circuit to reconsider the issues in light of Prometheus. On remand, the Federal Circuit held that Prometheus did not affect the outcome of the case, so the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation filed a petition for certiorari. The Supreme Court granted certiorari and unanimously invalidated Myriad's claims to isolated genes. The Supreme Court held that merely isolating genes that are found in nature does not make them patentable."